On Saturday night, Sigma Phi Epsilon in collaboration with the University Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Public Safety and the Safe Campus Project put on UMaine’s third annual Rock Against Rape. Almost Home, Stoplight Rehearsal, Now Transmission, Vague Valentine, Headstart and As Fast As all braved the chilly venue in order to put on a great show for a great cause.
The show was located at the entrance to the baseball diamond behind Cutler Health Center. As well as free admission, free food was provided by the brothers at Sig Ep, much needed to warm up concert-goers on the chilly September evening.
The first band to warm up the crowd at 5 p.m. was Almost Home, who had to play their set in the rain. Having played at both Bumstock last year and at the Frequency, the band is no stranger to UMaine students. Self-described by lead singer Cory Deshane, a Husson College New England School of Communications student, the band is “emo-based” rock, citing influences such as the Get-up Kids and Taking Back Sunday.
“[Our] lyrics are very heart-on-sleeve, and the music tries to rock when we can,” Deshane said.
The cause was also important to the group, Deshane said. “We [played for free] because we figured that if they can save some money and get some bands playing, I would rather see all the money they would make go to a good cause and not to us playing a half-hour set.”
The second band of the evening was Stoplight Rehearsal, the first band who enjoyed a drier climate for the evening. Continuing with the emo sound of the evening, their songs included “Another Love Song” about a friend named Eric who “wouldn’t stop writing love songs about his mother” and “This is the Last Emo Song I’m Writing.” Despite their quality set, members of the audience were hesitant to approach the stage, where the rain had left huge mud puddles.
“This is a great cause, and we’re happy to play for free,” Mike Mathien, the lead singer of Stoplight Rehearsal, said.
The third band of the night, southern Maine-based Vague Valentine, changed the tone of the concert a little by adding some slower, more Sublime-esque tunes to their set. As the night went on, more people filtered into the concert, and lead singer Ben Burgess concluded their set with a thank you to the crowd, commenting that this had been their “best crowd ever.”
Between the two bands, Robert Dana, Dean of Students, made a few remarks about the event, commenting that this had been “a tremendous showing on a very important night.”
“This is an event that honors the dignity and worth of every single person … By your coming tonight, you are saying that you do not tolerate violence against women, violence against men, or violence in our community,” Dana said.
The fourth band of the night, Portland-based Headstart launched into their set providing the concert-goers who had been trying to keep warm by shoving their hands in their pockets with some high-energy riffs to warm up to.
In the middle of their set, Headstart announced that they would sign their whole check over to Rape Response services, responding to an article in the Sept. 15 edition of The Maine Campus.
“This really feels like Bumstock, only much smaller,” commented lead singer Kevin Kennie.
The last band of the evening was As Fast As, providing a good synthesis of all the styles of music that were present at the event.
Rock Against Rape co-coordinator Josh Bridges felt that the show was a great success, commenting that the “primary goal [of the event] is to get the message out, not to raise money.” He cited that other rape awareness event attendees are often steered to similar rape awareness-activists, but the concert-goers at this event might be people who “normally wouldn’t hear the message.”
Bridges also felt that the bands were very good at plugging the messages between songs, something which bands at past Rock Against Rape events had not been as comfortable with.
Eli Young, the other co-coordinator of the event, agreed with Bridges.
“The huge difference between [Rock Against Rape] and Bumstock is that we come with entertainment and a message,” Young said.